Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hundreds of millions in earmarked foreign aid unspent last year by Canada's Harper regime, federal records confirm

OTTAWA — The Harper government is being accused of failing the world’s poor after federal financial documents confirmed that nearly $300 million earmarked for foreign aid went unspent last year.

That represents nearly 10 per cent of $3.1 billion that was supposed to have been distributed by the former Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to fight poverty in the developing world, and is on top of other cuts already being implemented.

In contrast, $25 million went unspent in 2011 and only $2 million in 2010.

International Development Minister Christian Paradis’s office did not immediately respond to questions Friday, but the government has previously said its focus is on making sure the aid money it does spend is used effectively and not simply shovelled out the door.

But that explanation hasn’t mollified foreign aid experts, who note reports from CIDA officials that dozens of worthy projects have been collecting dust on the minister’s desk awaiting approval.

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